Royal Red Velvet Cupcakes and Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting – perfect for a right royal knees up!

Selection of royal cupcake cases


165g butter,softened

300g caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs, large

200g plain flour

70g self raising flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

20g cocoapowder

225ml milk

25ml vinegar

Red gel colour paste

Perfectly Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting

70g butter, softened

200g Philadelphia

400g icing sugar, sifted

Red white and blue sprinkles

Union jack mini flags

Makes 24 cupcakes – enough for a knees up!

Don’t let my photos confuse you I’m making a bigger batch for my Royal Wedding Street Party!  I think its a combination made in heaven – red velvet cakes and cream cheese frosting – red velvet cupcakes are basically a devils food cake recipe with the amount of cocoa powder significantly reduced – just a  hint of chocolatey taste with a strikingly vibrant colour.

Start off by measuring out the milk in a jug, add the 25ml of malt vinegar, give it a quick stir and leave it to stand until later.

Preheat the oven to 160c Fan/180c/Gas Mark 4.

Line cupcake pans with the cases.

Cream together the butter and the sugar.
Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.

Weigh out all the dry ingredients into a bowl together.

Now add the milk/vinegar and give the whole lot a good mix up.

Add some red food colouring to get the mixture nice and red, you will need a fair bit. I’m using gel colour which is much more economical.  If you’re using bottled liquid colour you may need up to three bottles!

Fill the cupcake cases 2/3rds full and bake in the oven for 20 -25 minutes until lightly browned on the tops (if you can tell because its red!)
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Now for the cream cheese frosting,  this is the perfect recipe for frosting that is pipeable and certainly not running all over the place but there are a few things to remember.  I only ever work with Philadelphia Cream Cheese and full fat too.  Other cheeses are available and may be cheaper however they don’t perform quite the same when you work with them.

The Philadelphia needs to be super cold, chilled in the fridge or placed in the freezer for ten minutes.
Drain off the liquid from the pack and discard it.
Beat the butter so it is super soft and ready to go.  Add the Philadelphia and beat them together until combined.  Don’t over beat – Cream cheese loosens and becomes more liquidy the more you beat it so less is best.

Sift in half the icing sugar and beat together, add the remaining half and mix again.

Now you should have perfectly pipeable delicious cream cheese frosting.
Pipe swirls using a piping bag and a large closed star tip onto the tops of the cooled red velvet cupcakes.

Add a swoosh of red white and blue sprinkles and top with a mini union jack.

Royal Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Frosting

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

Finalist on BBC2 The Great British Bake Off

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59 Responses to Royal Red Velvet Cupcakes and Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Franziska says:

    I use red liquid food colouring for my red velvet cupcakes and I put about three tablespoons into my batter (for 12 cupcakes). I'm not that keen on red velvet cupcakes, I don't find they taste of anything but butter and sugar. My friends love them so it's probably just me 🙂

  2. Made With Pink says:

    Ooh love these! I posted my Royal Wedding cupcakes yesterday, but sadly I'll be away in Brussels over the wedding day so can't bring them along to any street parties. I love your fancy cases!

  3. Claudia Moser says:

    very royal indeed 🙂

  4. MissCakeBaker says:

    I've just bought some mini Union Jacks for Friday!

  5. Thelittleloaf says:

    These look gorgeous. I want to make one big cake for the wedding-could I cook this recipe in a single cake tin, and if so what size?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I always have problems with my red velvet cakes, they seem to taste too 'vinegary' which vinegar do you use?

  7. PinkCatJo says:

    I love the mini flags – really cute. My husband only let me by some Union Jack baking cases if I'd promise to use them. I think that with the Royal Wedding, Jubilee and The Olympics they'll be lots of opportunities for patriotic celebrations! x

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ruth these look fantastic. Can they be made the day before?

  9. Anonymous says:

    where did you get the flags & cases i would love to make these!! :0)

  10. Ruth says:

    My flags and cases came from The Works bookshop but Morrisons are selling them at the moment too.

    These are fine to be made the day before too and keep very well x

    The vinegar I use is normal malt vinegar x

  11. Ruth says:

    Recipe will work fine in an 8" tin too – baking time I would say would be around 35 mins x

  12. Jessica says:

    Red Velvet are one of my fave cupcakes to make, along with carrot cupcakes. Can't get enough of them!

    Great Job on the Great British Wedding Cake by the way x

  13. little miss sunshine says:

    i wish id seen those cases and flags earlier, im working friday as im a student nurse and its my last day on placement in the childrens ward, but weve decorated our ward for the wedding and were gonna try and have a bit of a tea party for the wedding so i decided to make some cupcakes tomorrow for it. i looked all over town but i couldnt find anything like the cases or the flags though where i live so iv just decided to make some with blue, red and white buttercream (a different colour divided up between the cakes), and then dicorate them with little silver balls and chocolate hearts to make them a bit weddingey as well.

  14. Claire says:

    thank you so much for giving a recipe for cream cheese icing that isn't sloppy! I've had so many problems with making this type of icing as it always seems to turn into a runny mess when I add icing sugar! I also stick to using philadelphia and I tend to just sweeten it with a bit of caster sugar. However, I will now try your version and see how it works out!

  15. Anonymous says:

    These Royal Wedding cupcakes are fantastic! I adore baking & love cupcakes and have seen so many companies/individuals baking Royal Wedding cupcakes – so many different designs & ideas!

  16. Zoey says:

    I have never made cream cheese frosting before, does it keep well as i am always worried about not putting the cheese in the fridge?

  17. Sanja says:

    Made them yesterday andt they were great! Love to batter and they came out realy light. Left few without frosting so we are eating them now for breakfast. Thank you!

  18. SweetColours says:

    Congratulations on your blog, I think it is beautiful and works are exquisite. I'm here to follow you.
    We invite you to visit my blog, I hope you like my work and follow me. A hug from Spain.

  19. Kitchen Butterfly says:

    O I agree – red velvet and cream cheese frosting are a match made for mouths and tummies, so appreciative if its deliciousness. I love your royal accoutrements!

  20. Maggie@BritishBaking says:

    I found your blog through Maison Cupcake – love it! Very festive cupcakes… And caught a glimpse of your raspberry marshmallows too.. Oh yum!

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  23. Jess says:

    i love this recipe and am currently using it in with my school work for in Food Tech. when i was told i had to change the cake part of a already existing recipe i new this would be the cake to choose and it has worked great 🙂 everytime i need a good cake recipe it will always be this one as it is so simple. i love it. Thanks

  24. Jess says:

    i love this recipe, it has quickly become one of my best and the most popular wiht my friends, i am currently in school and am using it within one of my food technology

  25. mich120 says:

    I have made 100’s of cup cakes but I want to make red velvet cup cakes, so I thought I would try your recipe. the cake were light, moist but had no taste, which was very disappointing.
    I tried the cream cheese frosting, but I don’t think it was my kind of thing, as I just didn’t like the taste. so I decided to make a chocolate orange frosting, which added flavour to the cakes.

  26. Julie Golby says:

    I am looking for a red food colouring paste /gel for red velvet cupcake batter can you recommend any ?

  27. Carolyn says:

    Hi Ruth – just to say I love your website, feel like I have found a real gem coming across it 🙂 Also with your fantastic explanations you are now my authority in baking – I had a disastrous attempt at cream cheese icing for a carrot cake so turned to your website! Your recipe went swimmingly apart from at the end there were small blobs of butter that weren’t incorporated in the main body of the icing – any idea what I did wrong?
    Best wishes

    • I’ve done that and it’s down to impatience! It’s when the butter isn’t soft enough to begin with and then when the cream cheese is added they won’t mix together well leaving the small blobs of butter. If it happens again leave it to warm a little more to room temp and then beat well to get the consistency even before adding the icing sugar. x

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  30. Amanda says:

    I made the red velvet cupcakes for the first time & the recipe was so easy to follow they came out great & went down a storm at work!! That was also my first attempt at cream cheese frosting & apart from the small blobs of butter (& I now know why thanks to a previous message!) it was delicious! x

  31. Sara says:

    Hi Ruth,
    I am going to make these for my engagement party, American fiance says they are his favourite! Can I freeze the cakes and frost later? Thanks!

  32. Luke says:

    Hey! Just tried making these and they turned out brown. My mix looked just like yours before going into the oven, but brown all the way through after 20 minutes. I used dr oetker red gel for the colouring, and put about a bottle & a half in, any ideas? 🙁

  33. Emma Donovan says:

    Lovely recipe =]. Nice to find a recipe that uses normal milk instead of buttermilk too! And nice to find a british recipe so that it’s all in grams not cups lol. I used aldi’s cream cheese as money is tight ans prayed it still worked. Found it worked lovely but needed about 50g more icing sugar =]

    The only thing I would change if poss is to make the sponge a bit lighter? Seemed a bit dense. Maybe I went wrong or that is how it’s supposed to be and I am just used to my recipe for light vanilla cupcakes?

    Thanks xx

  34. Emma Donovan says:

    Possibly overcooked them then. I would love to see a ‘how to…’ on a gingerbread house? Going to make one this year =]

  35. Anthea welch says:

    Do you think this would work for a celebration cake I have 8inch tins 1.5 inch tall…. How long would you bake for any different quantities???

    I have done the cupcakes many times and love them, but this is for daughters birthday…

  36. LINDSEY says:

    Hi Ruth

    have just made my first batch of red velvet cupcakes as a friend would like them for her birthday party. Just concerned about the icing and how long it keeps.

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  38. Claire Addison says:

    Hi, Just wanted to let you know, I made these for the School comp, Bake off and I won xx can send you picture if you want it xx

  39. Abby says:


    Could you please let me know how much butter is in the cream cheese icing? I couldn’t see it on the ingredients list.


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  42. ellie says:

    Hiya,im 12 and I just made these and my family loved them! I follow your website and I love ALL your recipes x
    keep up the amazing work x
    love this page x
    loads of sweet hugs
    ellie xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  43. Sharon Rae says:

    Hi Ruth,
    Made these for the first time today and am blown away! They are very light and moist, beautiful. I used Wilton gel paste colouring (Red Red) and they came out a lovely red. Thanks for posting the recipe. I also bought your ‘Busy Girl’ Guide To Cake Decorating’ today. Will be using the Madeira cake quantity chart to make my Dad’s 70th birthday cake, will let you know how it turns out. Love the site too. Happy baking xx

  44. Zoe says:

    Hi Ruth, just wondering if u have managed to convert the red velvet recipe for a giant cupcake recipe yet??? I see above in the questions u said that this recipe would be off or 8 inch tin but I know u say the giants are a ten inch recipe ….I know u we’re thinking of doing it so imh oping u have ?! Thanks xxx

    • Sorry Zoe, I haven’t yet. A 10″ tin recipe is usually 1.5 x quantity of an 8″ tin, bake time should be about the same as the chocolate giant cupcake give or take x

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